Lambert wanted Lukaku

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert tried to bring Romelu Lukaku to Villa Park to partner fellow Belgian Christian Benteke.

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Lukaku: Has impressed on loan at West Br

Lukaku: Has impressed on loan at West Br

Paul Lambert has revealed Belgium team-mates Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke could have been playing together for Aston Villa against Everton this weekend instead of against each other.

The strikers are close friends and form one of Europe's most fearsome forward lines for their country but on Saturday they square off against each other in the Barclays Premier League.

Villa boss Lambert said this week that he originally tried to sign Lukaku on loan from Chelsea in the summer of 2012 only to be thwarted by the player's high wages.

Lukaku spent a season at neighbours West Brom instead, before being sent out on loan again this summer, this time to Everton.

"I remember when I first came in here I spoke to Chelsea about Lukaku before we saw Christian," said Lambert.

"I knew about him and this club needed somebody to be that type of player.

"Obviously we couldn't afford that at that time and Christian came in and the rest is history, as they say. They're totally different players but the two of them are a threat."

Asked whether Benteke was signed because he could not land Lukaku, Lambert said: "No, no. I would have tried to get Christian as well, probably.

"What would they have been like together? Expensive! You don't know, you really don't know, but they're two powerful lads.

"I'm not so sure they're similar. They're two young guys who are making a career for themselves."

The Scot confirmed Benteke is fully recovered from his recent hip injury and ready to start against the Toffees on Saturday after coming on from the bench in last week's defeat by Tottenham.

He said: "He's fine. He only trained three or four days in a month, it's just not enough to put him into that scale of a game last weekend and we didn't want to re-injure him or anything like that.

"It was the right thing to bring him on and he might have had a chance and might have scored on another day but his contribution was okay.

"There's no pressure on me to start him. Not at all. I know what I get from him and the main thing for me was he was fully fit to be selected.

"Libor Kozak has done really well for us in absence of Christian so I've got a problem, to pick whoever I want to pick."

Centre-half Ciaran Clark is also in contention to return to the starting XI after missing the Spurs fixture due to illness.


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